Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has moved to explain the reasoning behind why Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been left out of his squad in recent weeks.
The Armenian international has made just five appearances for United since his summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund, but hasn’t featured since the Manchester derby on September 10.
Having vowed this week to fight for his place, the 27-year-old’s situation has now been explained by Mourinho who has blamed a translation issue behind why Mkhitaryan’s absence has been misunderstood.
After being left out of the squad for games against Fenerbahce, Chelsea and Manchester City in the EFL Cup, question marks started to pop up about Mkhitaryan’s future at United given it appeared as though he had recovered from injury but was being snubbed.
However, Mourinho has moved to dismiss speculation and has explained that ultimately he has a different idea of what ‘not injured’ and ‘fit’ mean.
“He is not injured,” Mourinho told MUTV, as reported by the club’s official website.
“Sometimes I confuse the word ‘fit’ in the English language. Sometimes you can say that it is ‘not injured’, but you could also say that you are in great condition and ready to compete.
“That is different for me as we use different words in Portuguese for the different situations. Mkhitaryan is not injured, he is training with the team 100 per cent.
“I think Micki will work here for sure.”
That will certainly be reassuring for both the player himself and supporters who have been wondering why he hasn’t been given a chance in recent outings to work his way back to full fitness and become an important part of the team.
Given his creativity and quality in the final third, Mkhitaryan’s addition to the team on a regular basis can only be seen as a major boost for United, but much will depend on whether or not he’s deployed in a position that will get the best out of him.